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Gerlach LB, Maust DT, Solway E, Kirch M, Kullgren JT, Singer DC, Malani PN. Perceptions of Overall Mental Health and Barriers to Mental Health Treatment Among US Older Adults. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. 2022 Apr 1; 30(4):521-526.
OBJECTIVES: We surveyed older adults about their perceived mental health and their comfort discussing and engaging in mental health treatment. METHODS: A nationally representative survey of community-dwelling older adults aged 50-80 (N = 2,021), with respondents asked to rate their current mental health as compared to 20 years ago, comfort discussing their mental health, and potential hesitations to seeking treatment in the future. RESULTS: About 79.6% reported their mental health as the same or better than 20 years ago; 18.6% reported their mental health to be worse. Most respondents reported that they were comfortable (87.3%) discussing their mental health, preferring to discuss such concerns with their primary care provider (30.6%). About 28.5% of respondents did endorse some hesitation seeking mental health care in the future. CONCLUSIONS: Most older adults reported that their mental health was as good if not better than it was 20 years ago and felt comfortable discussing mental health concerns.